Woe continues to strike Newcastle United, it is not a quick death though. Instead, hemlock has been creeping up from its foundations for a decade or more.

I say this as a disclaimer, because although this article is principally about failings of this Newcastle team on the pitch, it is also very much related to all of the obvious issues off it (before anyone accuses me of ignoring the fact).

There are countless factors behind our position at the foot of the league table. A serious lack of pace, especially up front, is one of them.

Dwight Gayle was hardly a prolific striker in the top division and 6 goals from 35 games last season is a below-par return. Yet it is more than any of our current forwards will score this year.

Although our wingers are rapid runners, the players in front of them offer little to challenge the modern day defender.

As conventional target men, Joselu and Rondon can hold up the ball but are unable to provide outlets of play from running the wide channels or challenging an offside trap.

Perez sometimes offers this role from his deeper position but is only effective in his moments of good form.

Could some agility have unlocked the Brighton defence in the last home game?

The fact is that, without a swift-footed replacement on the bench, the question was irrelevant to Rafa either way.

Bournemouth have excelled for years with a clear identity of pacy attacking play, just as NUFC used to in the Robson/Keegan eras. Nevertheless, even less stable clubs such as Crystal Palace or Watford are using speed to their advantage.

Football is hardly rocket science at any level, yet nobody is learning the lesson within the St James Park boardroom.

Someone only half-decent like Andre Gray or Danny Ings could transform this Newcastle team. Of course, we already know why a player of their aptitude is not being bought to do that though – and January will no doubt repeat the same story.

Most frustrating of all is the sense of history reoccurring.

I wrote an article back in March 2016 complaining about the same one-paced approach. Just swap Mitrovic/Cisse for Rondon/Joselu and it is practically identical.

In 2016 we saw Newcastle United relegated.

At this rate, 2019 will see the hemlock continue to rise perilously further.

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  • Paul Patterson

    I’ll stick my neck out and suggest that even Wor Shola would test the opposition defence better than our current crop of alleged strikers.
    That’s tragic. And if none of our strikers score more than six goals all season, we will be a Championship side next season..

  • BigHairyDog

    Why would Andre Gray or Danny Ings want to swap a relegation battle at Burnley or Southampton for a relegation battle here? Why would any top flight striker, winger or creative midfielder want to come here?

    We had a chance in the summer to sign these players, the club had finished 10th and the confidence around the place was booming. Then as usual Ashley puts a spoke in the works, hope was quashed and everyone went from looking forward to the season to dreading it.

    All because Ashley thought it would be amusing to have Rafa Benitez dangling on the end of a string, when everyone of Rafa’s “reasonable priced” targets were available he still didn’t know his budget. Ashley was incommunicado, as we already know only certain people can contact him and that doesn’t include the man in charge of the team.

    Any player that comes in January will want a “get out clause” for the end of the season, they’ll want to be well paid and will want a bigger bonus for staying up than players already here. Then there’s the matter of getting them out of their clubs, something that is costlier in January than in the summer…

    But then the cost doesn’t matter as Ashley won’t be paying it, he’ll just add it to the price of the club or more likely, add it to the loans.

    • Rabid Dog

      You are spot on.

      However we only finished 10th because Rafa employed the tactics he did. The home game vs. Citeh, where he got absolutely crucified for parking the bus proved right. He saved the goal difference, got 2 league places.

      • TeessideMag

        If two of the wins we had last season were losses, we’d have been down in 16-17th, that’s how tight it was. Fast forward to now, we’ve already turned more than 2 of those wins in to losses, and this season will not be as tight as last

      • killymag

        spurs and chelsea had there flip flops on when we played them

  • GlasgowMag

    Yip it’s not rocket science!! Now let’s see where can we get a proven goal scorer in the premiership with pace for 5-10 million????

    • Kenny

      when you find one tell Penfold

    • Carverlier football

      Well if we want a cheap top class striker we’ll just have to develop them through the academy. Oh dear…

      • Ram Kishore

        I think only when there is a direction and a right person to lead from the top, we will be expecting that sort of player from academy or through extensive scouting network.
        U just have to look at Sevilla, after relegation from La Liga in early 2000 they did that with Monchi

        • Carverlier football

          We certainly can’t expect that sort of academy player when we’re planning to cut the funding…

    • Blackburn1066

      50- 100 Million

  • Kenny

    the most important player in a team is the striker yet year in year out Newcastle ignore this position.

  • Foggy

    Danny Ings is nowhere near as good as he was but I take your point. What we need is to unearth another young Andy Cole…pace, movement and a natural goal scorer rather than the slower, hold the ball up type like Ings or Austin.

    Aye, that’ll be the day I hear you all saying.

    • Blackburn1066

      Oh! for an Andy Cole, the cost of it today.

  • Clarko

    Murphy – bought for €3.50m
    Joselu – bought for €5.50m
    Muto – bought for €10.70m
    Gayle – bought for €12.00m
    Rondon – bought for €17.00m (by West Brom)
    Mitrovic – bought for €18.50m (sold for €20.20m)
    Slimani – bought for €30.50m (by Leicester)

    Benitez has already had €97.70m (€99.40m) worth of strikers at his disposal…

    • Steven05

      Persuade Shearer to re-sign, then that will be an extra £15m English pounds at his disposal…

    • Angelswithdirtyfaces

      I can recall that amazing sequence of performances by Slimani. All those goals ! Dunno why we didn’t snap him up.

      We actually use the £ in the UK and not a currency that gives numbers about 20% higher than the £. Lies, damned lies, and statistics, eh?

      I think you have to be a complete idiot to count £50m of other club’s players as Newcastle assets. Try their loan fees instead….

      • Rabid Dog

        Aye the bloke is a cokk. Accuses me of misquoting his own words, but makes his own set of figures up to prove his own point. He’s anti Rafa, and if he wasn’t so aggressive he might get a point across. But no.

      • Ram Kishore

        But I do feel like Rafa did have these many strikers on his disposal at some point of time. Let’s leave Slimani, he was a stupid panic loan by Lee when all other options were exhausted. He should have got Rondon early and kept Gayle. I know Rafa didn’t have a say when Gayle was sent out. I’d prefer to have Daryl Murphy rn. Why Rafa isn’t using Jacob Murphy ahead of Atsu makes me wondow why we spent 10 m on that kid. It makes me wonder what his confidence levels would be rn. Just being honest

      • Clarko

        I can recall who signed Slimani. Benitez.

        Euros is the currency that transfermarkt uses, not me.

        I think you’d have to be a complete idiot to not count the ‘£50m’ worth of talent that Benitez has had at his disposal as Newcastle manager, it’s just silly to ignore that.

    • Rabid Dog

      I was waiting for this drivel. We have not paid for nearly half of that total. You are quoting costs paid by other clubs. Not Newcastle.

      Also do not understand anymore if you are quoting in euro or sterling.

      “Benitez has already had €97.70m (€99.40m)”

      • Mike D

        He’s quoting in euros cos he’s too lazy to use a currency converter, just like he’s too lazy to look at the bigger picture.

      • Clarko

        You clearly can’t read and you are deliberately misquoting me. I clearly stated which club payed for what player and I clearly state the word ‘worth’ which you selectively decided to leave out of your quote. Dummy.

    • wheyayeman

      What a bell end you are! We frequently have Perez £1m and Joselu £5m up front that’s £6m pounds worth of strike force in 2018 ! That would have seemed ridiculous in a 1994 Premier League team !

      • Clarko

        Yeah, we frequently have Perez and Joselu up front because Benitez choses them ahead of the likes of Mitrovic, Gayle, Rondon and Slimani. Dummy.

        • Should take those meds, mate.

          • Clarko

            You’re a dunce mate.

        • wheyayeman

          He would struggle to play them though what with Mitrovic being a Fulham player, Gayle forced out to fund our loan of Rondon who is not fit
          and looking like another sick note or Slimani who was never fit and Dummy plays in defence. Pilock!

          • Clarko

            Mitrovic was at Newcastle during the entire 16/17 season and the first half of the 17/18 season, the great Rafa Benitez preferred Gayle, Murphy, Perez and Joselu…

            Benitez forced Gayle out so he could acquire his number one target Rondon. How is that working out?

            Who signed Slimani who was ‘never fit’ (your words)? Benitez right?

            And everything that you’ve just said doesn’t change the fact that Benitez has had €97.70m (€99.40m) worth of strikers at his disposal during his time at Newcastle…

  • Dave Mitchison

    Murphy – bought for €3.50m
    Joselu – bought for €5.50m
    Muto – bought for €10.70m
    Gayle – bought for €12.00m
    Rondon – bought for €17.00m (by West Brom)
    Mitrovic – bought for €18.50m (sold for €20.20m)
    Slimani – bought for €30.50m (by Leicester

    Clarko – see ewe en tee

    Think that sums him up

  • Simple, box to box midfielder a must, wingers who can cut inside and shoot is a must and a Yedlin type left-back. The rest should be ok, even if we don’t sign a striker. I have faith if Rondon and Muto are fit and wingers chipping in and a few goals from midfield will see us up.

  • MadMag83

    We can’t sign any more EPL or EFL players on loan and Ashley won’t spend millions on them. It will either be nobody, or a cheap import. Supposedly we are looking at a lad from Eintract Frankfurt.

  • Proppaboots

    Whether its in pound’s or euro’s makes no difference……….still the same pile of cacky!!!